CrXPRT testers may
remember that back around the time that we began the CrXPRT 2 development process, the Chrome team announced that they were
phasing out support for Portable Native Client (PNaCL) in favor of WebAssembly (WASM). As a first step,
they changed the Chrome OS setting that enabled PNaCL by default. At the time,
this caused problems with the Photo Collage workload in CrXPRT 2015, and even
though we identified a workaround, details in the Chrome team’s announcement led us to conclude
that the workaround might stop working in June 2021. Because of this change, we
decided that the best decision would be to remove the workload from CrXPRT
2, and keep existing CrXPRT 2015 testers informed of any changes with the
In 2020, the Chrome
team also announced that they would be phasing out support for Chrome Apps
altogether starting in June 2021, and would shift their focus to Chrome
extensions. This change would have required us to reassess the viability of
CrXPRT in anything like its current form.
We’re happy to report that
the Chrome team has extended support for PNaCL and existing Chrome Apps through
June 2022. Barring further changes, this means that CrXPRT
2015 (with the workaround) and CrXPRT 2 should continue to serve as reliable
Chrome OS evaluation tools for some time.
If you have any questions about CrXPRT 2, please let us know!
It’s been nine months
since we’ve published a WebXPRT 3 browser performance comparison, so we decided
to put the newest versions of popular browsers through the paces to see if the
performance rankings have changed since our last round of tests.
We used the same
laptop as last time: a Dell XPS 13 7930 with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM
running Windows 10 Home, updated to version 1909 (18363.1139). We installed all
current Windows updates and tested on a clean system image. After the update
process completed, we turned off updates to prevent them from interfering with
test runs. We ran WebXPRT 3 three times on five browsers: Brave, Google Chrome,
Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. The posted score for each browser
is the median of the three test runs.
In our last round of tests, the four Chromium-based browsers (Brave, Chrome, Edge, and Opera)
produced scores that were nearly identical. Only Mozilla Firefox produced a
significantly different (and better) score. The parity of the Chromium-based
browsers was not surprising, considering they have the same underlying foundation.
In this round of testing, the Chromium-based browsers again produced very close scores, although Brave’s performance lagged by about 4 percent. Firefox again separated itself from the pack with a higher score. With the exception of Chrome, which produced an identical score as last time, every browser’s score was slightly slower than before. There are many possible reasons for this, including increased overhead in the browsers or changes in Windows, and the respective slowdowns for each browser will probably be unnoticeable to most users during everyday tasks.
Do these results mean that Mozilla Firefox will provide you with a speedier web experience? As we noted in the last comparison, a device with a higher WebXPRT score will probably feel faster during daily use than one with a lower score. For comparisons on the same system, however, the answer depends in part on the types of things you do on the web, how the extensions you’ve installed affect performance, how frequently the browsers issue updates and incorporate new web technologies, and how accurately each browsers’ default installation settings reflect how you would set up that browser for your daily workflow.
addition, browser speed can increase or decrease significantly after an update,
only to swing back in the other direction shortly thereafter. OS-specific
optimizations can also affect performance, such as with Edge on Windows 10 and
Chrome on Chrome OS. All of these variables are important to keep in mind when
considering how browser performance comparison results translate to your
What are your thoughts on browser performance? Let us know!